Letters to the editor June 9

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Missing the mark on gun control

With the recent shooting in Virginia, people are again raising concerns about gun violence and gun control. The gun never gets arrested, never is tried in a court of law, and never serves time in prison. The issue here is that we, as a nation, are looking in the wrong direction to reduce the violence. By being preoccupied with gun violence and gun control, we are missing the mark entirely. Letís stop persecuting the mindless gun and start pursuing the root causes.

Banning certain types of weapons and ammunition only restricts honest citizens from a fair defense. I canít quite see myself, with my .38, facing an armed burglar and telling him, ďIím sorry, but you canít use that AR-15 because itís illegal.Ē Iím sure that will help my situation. Not.

More people die from vehicle accidents each year than from shootings. Do we ban vehicles? Every time we turn on the ignition in our car, we have in our hands a very large, loaded gun. Itís not the vehicle or the gun. Itís the person behind the wheel and the person holding the gun who are responsible for the violence. I want the legal ability to own the same weapons that a criminal may use. I obey the law. Criminals do not. Donít I deserve an equal defense to a criminal offense?

Letís be careful what we ask for. And letís start trying to identify causes of violence and offer some solutions. No laws, no matter how restrictive, will eliminate violence. I recall serving on a jury where the defendant killed a man by hitting him in the head with a rock. My sister was beaten to death. We canít solve any problems by focusing on the wrong element. Itís not the weapon that kills. Itís the person.

óDee Armstrong, Bigfork

Hog heaven

Farmers have been squealing a lot lately because the export of grain to China, especially soybeans, has been greatly reduced. They are blaming the increased tariffs imposed by the president for the significant decline.

However, farmers know that the reduction in exports of grain to China is actually caused by the fact that over 2 million hogs have had to be killed in China because of the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus. Hogs eat swill made primarily from soybeans and other grains. Fewer hogs means less grain is needed. Thus the reduction of grain imports from the U.S., Brazil, Canada and other countries. The reduced import of grains is caused by dead hogs, not tariffs.

A mixed blessing of the huge hog die off in China and other Asian countries may be the fact that pork exports to China from the U.S. are said to be increasing a minimum of 20% in 2019. More pork exports means more grain needed to feed more hogs here in the U.S.. The grain growers will have increased sales of their products to U.S. and other hog producing countries.

Having more markets to supply may mean that the subsidies given to the farmers may be reduced. Saving billions for the U.S. taxpayers.

Just sayiní.

óRichard Griffin, Kalispell

Tip big in Montana

A lot about having fun while on vacation in Montana depends on the service you get. Most of the workers who provide services to tourists are locals with a few imports on-board to help meet demand. The tourism season is short in Montana.

For locals, tourism is a major source of their annual income. Money to pay the mortgage or rent, take care of children, and, yes, even make enough money for their own entertainment. Remember others may be working on a summer gig from back home in Ohio, trying to earn enough for fall college tuition.

Tips really count a lot!

Those who provide services to tourists are really a gift to visitors, for without them little enjoyment would happen, experiences would be less and not as pleasant and memorable.

Service providers are well-trained and eager to do the best job possible. In short, they make an ďinvestmentĒ in themselves to help you, the tourist.

So how much is a good tip? The numbers 15% or 20% are very customary when you get services back home. But consider this is your vacation and the extraordinary service Montanans provide to you while youíre on vacation. A bigger tip than customary, yes!

For the woman working at the ice cream shop in Whitefish, how about a $5 tip for making and serving you and your wife ice cream cones.

Remember, also, in the background the small businessmen and businesswomen who have planned months ahead of your arrival on what they are going to offer and do for you. A few may be doing some service work themselves.

The whole point of this is be generous. Then later in the evening, with friends gathered around, shout Prost!

óJohn Sandy, Northport, Alabama

Presidential aspirations

Steve Bullock, Montana governor, has decided to run for president of the United States of America. How embarrassing! Now the entire country will see how poorly informed Montana voters were to elect one of the least informed (euphemism for stupid) politicians of all times to the highest office in the state.

Letís just hope that he doesnít qualify to participate in a debate.

ó David Myerowitz, Columbia Falls

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